Wayne Bock got the call Saturday that his shop, Bock's Garage, was on fire. There was little he could do about it but watch.
"It's tough," Bock said.
“It’s been here a long time,” he said about the building at 279 North St. in Strasburg that he took over almost six years ago on April 1, 2015. Palmer’s Garage had used the building for about 35 years before Bock took ownership.
The report of the fire came in around 6:30 p.m. Saturday as a possible structure fire with brown smoke coming from the building, according to the Shenandoah County Fire Marshal’s office. Fire and rescue companies arrived on the scene to find fire within the building.
Fire crews brought the fire under control by around 6:50 p.m., with the garage being deemed uninhabitable with major structural damage. Office space and one of three garage bays were deemed a total loss, Shenandoah County Assistant Fire Marshal Derrick Dotson said.
The Pancake Underground, which shares the same building as the garage, had some smoke damage, the fire marshal’s office said.
Both buildings were unoccupied when the fire broke out, and no injuries occurred, Dotson said.
“The town has been unreal,” Bock, 48, said of the support he’s received since the fire. People have stopped by the shop to offer to buy them lunch and offer their support, he said.
“The fire department was amazing,” he added, saying crews did not mess around as they battled the blaze.
A post on the Pancake Underground's Facebook page notes: “Everyone is safe and OK, and the building is still standing thanks to our quick-acting firefighters...We’ll keep you updated on when we’ll be back to business (we hope soon), but in the meantime, please send all your good thoughts to Bock’s Garage, who took the brunt of the damage.”
The investigation into the cause is ongoing, but early signs indicate the fire was accidental and the result of a heating unit, Dotson said. It appears wiring for an electric furnace malfunctioned, Bock said. Nothing was left on in the shop, which is open Monday through Friday, he said.
The garage has a second location around the corner on East Washington Street and they will be working out of there starting Wednesday, Bock said. He doesn’t see why insurance won’t cover the damages and said his business will be OK with working out of the second location. He added he is not sure exactly when his garage may reopen, though an insurance inspection is expected this week.
The Pancake Underground restaurant is expected to reopen once water and electricity to the building can be turned on, Dotson said.
Units that responded to the incident included the Woodstock, Toms Brook and Strasburg fire departments, Strasburg Fire and Rescue, the Shenandoah County Fire Marshal’s office, Strasburg Police and Strasburg Public Works.
With the freezing temperatures that night, some pieces of equipment froze up, Dotson said. Crews were on scene for about 3 1/2 hours as Strasburg police provided traffic control in the area and public works crews treated ice.
Having smoke detectors and a fire safety plan in the event of a fire is encouraged by the Fire Marshal’s Office, Dotson said. Their office can assist with that and can be reached at 540-459-6167.